Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum) Profile

Written by Iris

Oct 11 2021

Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum) Profile
Alpine Currant is a compact, mounded shrub that is 3 to 6 feet tall. Alpine Currant’s bright green leaves with 3-5 lobes turn dark yellow in autumn. The Alpine Currant flowers are yellow-green and inconspicuous.The Alpine Currant fruit on the female plant is an inedible scarlet berry. However, most commercially sold plants of the species are male clones (males are reportedly immune to rust). The Alpine Currant stems are chestnut brown and may fall off (spalling) when mature.

Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum) Picture

 Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum) Profile

Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum) Info

Botanical Name Ribes alpinum
Common Name Alpine currant, Mountain currant
Plant Type Shrub
Mature Size 6 feet tall, 6 feet wide
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Moist, well-drained
Soil pH 6.1 - 7.8
Bloom Time Spring

Ecological Habits of Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum)

Alpine Currant is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade.Alpine Currant tolerates full shade. Prune at any time of year (flowers are insignificant) or simply allow plant to grow naturally. Alpine Currant tolerates some drought. Extremely winter hardy.

Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum) Distribution Area

Alpine currant (Ribes alpinum) grows in nature in the northwestern regions of Russia, in Scandinavia, Central and Southern Europe. Now it is listed in the Red Book and is under protection in nature reserves. And it was cultivated for a long time, back in the XVI century.
Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum) Profile

How to Grow and Care for Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum)

How to Grow Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum)

  • With Seeds
Use sand, peat moss or a soilless seed-starting mix to grow currant seedlings. Avoid unsterilized potting soil and garden soil because it contains microbes that can hinder germination. Place the currant seeds on top of the damp mix and cover them with a thin layer of soil. You can simply press the seeds gently into the mix and then brush the soil over the top. Currant seeds germinate best at a temperature between 65 and 75 F in bright, indirect light.
  • With Stem Cuttings
In late autumn, cut some branches off an established bush or take a bunch from a friend that makes his yearly thinning.
Cut those branches in pieces, so you have 4-6 buds on each piece. (called "a cutting")
Stick each cutting in the ground (or a pot) so that 2-3 buds are left above ground.
Water well and then mulch deep or otherwise make sure the soil does not completely dry until late summer next year.
What remains is to take out the cuttings and plant them out at their permanent place. The best time to do that is autumn, when their leaves fall off at least partially. In our part of the world, that means October-November.
Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum) Profile

How to Care for Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum)

  • Light
Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum) are highly adaptable shrubs that can survive in a variety of light conditions.
  • Soil
Moist, well-drained alkaline soils are ideal for alpine currants, although they are able to adapt to a variety of different soil types.
  • Water
Depending on rainfall, new plants need to be watered weekly through the first growing season. A slow, one-hour trickle of water should do the job. During hot spells thoroughly soaking the ground up to 8” (20 cm) every few days is better than watering a little bit daily.
  • Temperature and Humidity
Gardeners in cold regions rejoice! alpine currants are notorious for being extremely winter hardy, tolerating temperatures as low as -50 °F. They require little winter care but should be checked a couple of times throughout the winter for rabbit damage. If damage is present, construct a small fence around the alpine currant using hardware cloth to protect the plant. Alpine currants prefer dry conditions. In humid, wet environments alpine currants are more prone to developing anthracnose and leaf spot.
  • Fertilizer
Established trees should be fertilized every 2-3 years. Feed in early spring when plants start growing. Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Determine which application method is best for the situation and select a product designed for trees and shrubs, or go with a nutritionally balanced, general-purpose formula such as 10-10-10.
Always follow the fertilizer package directions for application rates and scheduling. Over-fertilizing plants or applying at the wrong time during the growing season can result in plant injury.
  • Pruning
Start alpine currant hedges with shrubs less than 2 feet tall, and cut them back by one-half at planting. This promotes dense branching from the bottom up. Before growth starts the next spring, identify new growth since your pruning. Remove one-half of that new growth. Remove one-half of new growth again the following spring. The third year, prune for shape. For classic hedges, cut the top flat or gently rounded. Then angle the sides so the base is slightly wider than the top. This lets in sun and keeps shrubs from shading themselves. Alpine currant's tolerance for shade helps, but proper pruning keeps hedges dense. For established natural hedges, prune alpine currants as needed for general shaping.
Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum) Profile

Uses of Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum)

Alpine Currant Landscape Uses
This ribes alpinum shines as a short hedgerow. Think about using them to line your driveway or property borders. With the uniformed green color, the Alpine currant makes an exceptional choice to spruce up your space without overwhelming it. Since the Alpine currant has a relatively fine texture, it can set itself apart from other plants in your landscape. If you want to create some contrast, make sure to pair the Ribes alpinum with plants that have coarse foliage.
Female plants produce red berries that stand out against the green foliage. With its summer haul of berries, this plant is an excellent shrub to help attract birds to your space. You might want to add a few shrubs to those wildlife habitats. If you place this shrub in the right spot, you will have a lovely time watching the birds throughout the warmer months.
Finally, the Alpine currant shines as a low privacy screen. No matter where you place it, this shrub will not let you down. When used as a mass planting, you can screen your patio from visitors. Not only will you have some privacy, but the delightful green color dazzles throughout the growing season.
Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum) Profile

Varieties of Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum)

There are several different cultivators of Alpine Currant. Some of the most popular varieties are as follows:
Ribes alpinum ‘Aureum’
Ribes alpinum ‘Europa’
Ribes alpinum ‘Spreg’
Ribes alpinum ‘Green Mound’
Ribes alpinum ‘Compacta’
Ribes alpinum ‘Pumila’

Alpine Currant (Ribes alpinum) Design Tips

Green Mound Alpine Currant is a dense multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a more or less rounded form. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other landscape plants with less refined foliage.
This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and can be pruned at anytime. It has no significant negative characteristics.
Green Mound Alpine Currant is recommended for the following landscape applications;
Mass Planting
General Garden Use